Alex and Teri are on the verge of breaking up when their elderly neighbour, a man people knew as Walter Brittain, is brutally murdered. Two days later Alex, the police’s only suspect, disappears without trace.
While the police enquiries are hampered by unexplained bureaucratic delays Teri hires independent investigators, Skye and Fergal Shepherd, to track Alex down and persuade him to return to answer the allegations.
When DNA evidence proves that Alex is the victim’s son investigations into the details of his life, and that of his father, prove to be far more difficult that they should be for Skye and Fergal, skilled investigative historians.
As they learn more about Alex, Teri and Walter they are drawn into the world of the Cold War and desperate escapes over the Berlin Wall.
As they understand more about the events leading to a previous, unsolved, murder (covered in detail in Her Parents’ Daughter) it becomes clear that Alex’s fate is being determined by the actions, more than thirty years in the past, of men long dead.
Second Strand is not a sequel – it is completely independent of Her Parents’ Daughter although some of the same characters crop up.
“It’s a very intelligently written book and explores not only the traditional nuts and bolts of a murder mystery but examines the frailties of human relationships and how things can go wrong without people even noticing. This book is heartily recommended for the mystery novel reader in your life. Or it might even make an even better present for you!” That’s Books and Entertainment
“I thoroughly enjoyed this – plenty of action, plenty of mystery, terrific characters and atmosphere… a brilliant piece of writing!” Paul Norman, BooksMonthly.co.uk
“Carolyn McCrae has cleverly created a tale of mystery that unravels the complexities of relationships.. “forged and betrayals perpetrated through the Cold War. An excellently written, intricately plotted murder mystery that will appeal to all fans of fast-paced and intelligent thrillers.” AG, Leicester
“I really like the relationship between Skye and Fergal, and the way so much of what happens to the characters is recognisable. I like the fact that they seem to spend a lot of time driving roads and going places I know. But most of all I like that nothing is as you think it is until the end. Much more than just a murder mystery.” TM, Devon
How did you come to write Second Strand?
When I finish writing a book I miss the characters. I wonder if I did them justice and whether there is more to tell. Although the ending to Her Parents’ Daughter was described as ‘surprising and wholly satisfactory’ there were, in my mind, loose ends I wanted to follow up. So there had to be another murder in Yarmouth.”
So it’s a sequel?
Not really. It can be enjoyed and appreciated even if you haven’t read Her Parents’ Daughter, though obviously if you’ve read that you would have more of the picture. Some of the same characters appear and have greater or lesser importance, but the story centres around people not seen before. In that sense it is not so much a sequel to it as a development from it.
And you’ve pulled in characters from your totally unrelated alternate history novel?
Skye and Fergal starred in A Set of Lies, yes, but their success was not the end of their story. They were investigators living and working just a few miles away from the events that were unfolding in Second Strand. It seemed obvious that they would get involved.
So you don’t have to have read A Set of Lies either?
No. Though obviously, if you want to learn how they got together, and all about their first magnificent investigation, then please do!